Category Archives: Financial Regulation

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Congress Passes the PPP Flexibility Act

On June 3, 2020, Congress passed the PPP Flexibility Act to loosen requirements for loan forgiveness for CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) borrowers. The new forgiveness rules will allow borrowers to extend the period for spending the loan proceeds to 24 weeks from the date of disbursement, an increase from the eight-week period originally … Continue Reading

PPP Loan Forgiveness: What the Latest Guidance Means for You

On May 22, the Small Business Administration and the Treasury Department released its latest guidance in the form of two interim final rules on loan forgiveness: “Business Loan Program Temporary Changes; Paycheck Protection Program –Requirements – Loan Forgiveness” and “Business Loan Program Temporary Changes; Paycheck Protection Program – SBA Loan Review Procedures and Related Borrower … Continue Reading

Federal Reserve Releases New Information on the TALF

On May 12, 2020, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the Federal Reserve) announced additional information and FAQs on its Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF). The goal of the TALF is to help consumers and businesses access affordable credit during and in the aftermath of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic by lending to holders … Continue Reading

AML Compliance Scrutiny of Virtual Currency Services in 2020 and Beyond

In the last decade, traditional financial institutions such as banks and broker-dealers have faced increased scrutiny from federal regulators and prosecutors related to the adequacy of their anti-money laundering (AML) compliance programs. Until recently, however, the federal government’s enforcement efforts against cryptocurrency exchange platforms and other virtual currency firms subject to the Bank Secrecy Act … Continue Reading

Prioritize Monitoring Financial Contracts

Many counterparties are dealing with the impact of market volatility, unprecedented margin calls and the combined  effects on their financial contracts, many of which are active master agreements executed years ago. It is important to check for terms like, “may” verses “shall”, applicable notice requirements and cure periods associated with default triggers and finally, the broad … Continue Reading

Federal Reserve Takes Actions to Provide Over $2 Trillion in Liquidity to U.S. Credit Markets, Including the Launch of its Main Street Lending Program

On April 9, 2020, in further response to the economic effects of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System took actions to pump an additional $2.3 trillion in liquidity into the U.S. credit and capital markets. According to the Federal Reserve, this new $2.3 trillion – which … Continue Reading

Exempt Offering Framework Amendment Proposal

On March 4, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its proposal to harmonize, simplify, and improve the exempt offering framework under the Securities Act of 1933 (the “Securities Act”).1 The SEC’s proposals are the result of the responses submitted to the SEC in connection with the concept release issued June 18, 2019, soliciting … Continue Reading

SEC Issues MD&A Disclosure Guidance and Proposes Amendments to Modernize and Enhance MD&A Financial Disclosures

On Jan. 30, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued (i) guidance regarding the disclosure of key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics in Management’s Discussion and Analysis, or MD&A (the “Guidance”), which is effective immediately and applies to the upcoming annual reports on Form 10-K and 20-F as well as related earnings releases; and (ii) a proposal to … Continue Reading

FINRA’s 2020 Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities Letter

On Jan. 9, 2020, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) released its 2020 Risk Monitoring and Examination Priorities Letter, in which it identifies its areas of examination focus for 2020. The cover note also highlights key changes in FINRA’s risk monitoring and examination program. These changes include the consolidation of FINRA’s three examination programs into a … Continue Reading

New York State Department of Financial Services Proposes Guidance on Adoption or Listing of Virtual Currencies by Exchanges

In the summer of 2015, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) finalized its regulatory framework for virtual currency firms seeking to conduct certain virtual currency (VC) business activities in the state. Since then, it has issued two dozen licenses and charters involving virtual currency transmission (VC licenses). To promote efficiency and reflect … Continue Reading

SEC Proposes Conditional Exemption for Certain Activities of Registered Municipal Advisors

Section 15 (a)(1) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) generally prohibits a broker or dealer from effecting “any transactions in, or to induce or attempt to induce the purchase or sale of, any security” unless such broker or dealer is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, as is often … Continue Reading

LIBOR Transition Newsletter – Issue 1

Welcome to Greenberg Traurig’s LIBOR Transition Newsletter, where we provide updates, analysis, and occasional commentary on the latest developments relating to the highly anticipated phasing-out of LIBOR at the end of 2021 – barely two years from now. Questions addressed in this issue: Why is LIBOR being phased out? What will be the immediate effect? … Continue Reading

2019 Report on FINRA Examination Findings and Observations

In October 2019, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) released its “2019 Report on FINRA Examination Findings and Observations.” FINRA publishes a report yearly to highlight its examination “findings” (i.e., findings of violations committed by member firms) detected throughout the year. In addition to findings, the 2019 Report advances further than years past and consists … Continue Reading

Qualifying Assets Under Investment Company Act Section 3(c)(5)(C) Mortgage Exemption

On Aug. 15, 2019, the staff of the Division of Investment Management at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Staff”) issued a significant no-action letter. The letter clarifies the treatment of certain assets held by an entity seeking to rely upon Section 3(c)(5)(C) to be exempt from registration as an investment company under the Investment … Continue Reading

Joint Statement Emphasizes Risk-Focused Approach to Examinations of Banks’ BSA/AML Compliance Programs

On July 22, 2019, the federal bank regulatory agencies and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (collectively, the “Agencies”), issued a Joint Statement on Risk-Focused Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering (BSA/AML) Supervision. The Joint Statement emphasizes their risk-focused approach to examinations of banks’ BSA/AML compliance programs and is the third statement from … Continue Reading

Amendments to ‘Volcker Rule’ to Exclude Certain ‘Small’ Banks From Key Prohibitions

In connection with the U.S. financial crisis 10 years ago, legislation was adopted to enhance the safety and soundness of the commercial banking system in the United States. Amendments to the Bank Holding Company Act of 1956 required five federal financial agencies to adopt joint regulations to (i) limit the authority of commercial banking institutions to … Continue Reading

SEC Issues ‘No-Action’ Letters Allowing Sales of Utility Tokens

In a significant step forward for the cryptocurrency industry, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued its first “no-action” letter (NAL) to a U.S.-based company using utility tokens created for consumptive use rather than investment. The regulator sent the letter to TurnKey Jet, Inc. (TKJ) on April 3, 2019, agreeing with the Florida-based air charter … Continue Reading

Cryptocurrencies and Unclaimed Property: Potential Implications of State Escheat Laws for the Blockchain Technology Industry

The use of blockchain technology and the issuance of cryptocurrencies have grown considerably in recent years, inviting heightened scrutiny and regulation. While federal securities, tax, and other financial services regulatory agencies, such as the SEC, the IRS, state securities commissioners and others, have begun applying their rules and regulations to cryptocurrency businesses, the cryptocurrency industry … Continue Reading

FinCEN Issues Guidance on Application of Regulations to Certain Business Models Involving Convertible Virtual Currencies

On May 9, 2019, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the U.S. Department of the Treasury (FinCEN) issued “interpretive guidance” addressing how FinCEN’s money services business (MSB) regulations apply to a variety of business models that use convertible virtual currency (CVC) (2019 FinCEN Guidance). This is the first significant guidance FinCEN has issued regarding the … Continue Reading

SEC Approves Final Regulation Best Interest, Form CRS

On June 5, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted 3-1 to adopt a series of proposals intended to “substantially enhance” the standards of conduct for financial professionals. First and foremost, the SEC adopted Regulation Best Interest (Reg BI), a new rule establishing an updated standard of conduct for broker-dealers and associated persons of … Continue Reading

Proposed Amendment to Japanese Crypto Asset Laws

A bill to amend the Japanese laws regulating cryptocurrency exchange businesses or financial instruments transactions, including the Act on Settlement of Funds (Settlement Act) and the Financial Instruments and Exchange Act (FIEA), was submitted to the Diet on March 15, 2019. The bill proposes to call cryptocurrencies “Crypto Assets” (CA) rather than “Virtual Currencies” (VC) … Continue Reading

CFTC and NFA Commodities Regulatory Update

Departing from its historical practice but following the approach taken by the SEC and FINRA, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) on Feb. 12, 2019, announced its first release of examination priorities for each of its regulatory divisions. In making the announcement, CFTC Chairman J. Christopher Giancarlo indicated the release is part of CFTC’s “initiative … Continue Reading

Colorado Digital Token Act Exempts Certain Cryptocurrency Transactions From Colorado Securities Laws

Colorado recently passed legislation that will facilitate the sale and transfer of digital tokens in Colorado. Under the Digital Token Act, Colorado businesses will be permitted to effect transactions involving the sale and transfer between certain persons of digital tokens secured through a decentralized ledger or database, with a focus on the production, distribution, and … Continue Reading

SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations Releases 2019 Examination Priorities

Click here for a comprehensive GT Alert on this topic. On Dec. 20, 2018, the Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE) of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued its annual Examination Priorities for 2019 (Exam Priorities), which is available for download here. The Exam Priorities focus around six thematic areas: (1) Retail Investors, … Continue Reading
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